Worm castings are the waste product that "compost" worms excrete. They are nearly odorless and contain an N-P-K ratio of 3-2-2. Carolina Organic Depot explains that you can use worm castings at larger volumes than chemical fertilizers without danger of burning plants. Worm tea is a mixture of worm castings and water. According to Planet Natural, it's impossible to harm any type of plant when you fertilize it with worm castings.
Types of Orchids
Close to 30,000 species of orchids exist on almost every continent on Earth, according to the Roosevelt Wild Life Station. From the common dendrobium to the fairly cold-tolerant cymbidium, orchids provide beauty in both outdoor and indoor environments wherever avid orchid enthusiasts grow and nurture them. Orchids are easier to grow than many people believe; with bright, indirect light, high humidity and regular fertilizer, orchids can become successful members of your plant collection. If you select an orchid that is native to the region where you live, it will stand the highest rate of success.
Benefits of Worm Casting Tea
Worm castings and organic compost contain similar nutrients, but when you make tea from worm castings, the resulting mixture provides better availability to orchids and other plants than other types of fertilizer, according to Carolina Organic Depot. Worm tea helps to improve the structure of soil, allowing air and water to infiltrate the soil more efficiently. Worm castings also help to repel certain insects, such as scales, mites, white flies and aphids because of an enzyme they contain that dissolves the exoskeleton of these pests. Castings also contain bacteria that help to keep other less beneficial bacteria and fungi in check.
How to Build a Worm Bin
Worm castings are available for sale in bagged form, but if you build a simple worm bin you will have a place to dispose of kitchen scraps that will provide you with a free source of this rich plant nutrient. With only three plastic storage bins, such as the type used for storing sweaters, you can set up a worm bin in minutes. Drill 3/8-inch holes in the bottoms of two bins, leaving the bottom bin without holes. Nest the bins on top of each other, snap a lid on the top bin and then deposit food scraps or garden waste, such as fallen leaves, in the top bin. Cover the organic matter with a 2-inch layer of damp newspaper strips and then add purchased red wiggler worms; regular earthworms and nightcrawlers are not appropriate for a worm bin.
How to Make Worm Casting Tea
About three months after you begin your worm bin, you'll have enough worm castings to make your first batch of worm tea. Organic Raised Bed Gardening says to fill a 5-gallon bucket with tap water. If your water contains chlorine, place an aquarium air pump and bubbler in the mixture and allow it to run for about two hours. Add three to five handfuls of worm castings and 1 tbsp. of molasses to the bucket and mix thoroughly. Let the bubbler run for another 24 hours, and your tea will be ready to use.
How to Apply Worm Tea to Your Orchid
Use all of your worm tea as soon as it is ready, because it will go bad in a short amount of time. If it begins to smell bad, it is not good to use. If you have a large number of orchid plants, you can use a yard sprayer for your tea. Fill the sprayer, attach it to a hose and thoroughly drench your plants with the mixture. For a smaller number of plants, transfer your worm tea into a watering can and give each plant a thorough watering each time you water your orchid. Worm tea will not burn and will help to control fungal diseases and certain insects.